2018 Toronto Child & Family Poverty Report

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The 2018 Toronto Child & Family Poverty Report draws on newly released census data to reveal a disturbing picture of child and family poverty in Toronto and in every single ward across the city.

Child and family poverty is a disturbing reality in every ward in Toronto, a new report from a coalition of community agencies finds. Newly released census data shows that ten wards in the city have a child poverty rate between 33% and 47%, but even wards with relatively low rates include areas where child poverty is pervasive, at double or triple the ward average.

The report, entitled “2018 Toronto Child & Family Poverty Report: Municipal Election Edition,” is the first to use census tract data to show hidden poverty within the city’s wards.

The report shows that inequities within our city are deep, disproportionately affecting Indigenous, racialized, and newcomer communities.

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Key Findings

  1. Child poverty affects families in every single ward in Toronto
  2. The highest rates of child poverty are among Indigenous, racialized and newcomer families
  3. The city of Toronto has higher rates of child poverty than the Toronto region for all groups of children

Child Poverty Affects Families in Every Single Ward in Toronto

  • Across the city, more than 125,000 children (26.3%) live in low-income families
  • Child poverty is widespread in Toronto’s wards
  • 10 of the city’s 25 wards have overall child poverty rates between 30.2% and 45.2% and include areas within the ward with rates of child poverty as high as 72.3% (based on census tract-level data)
  • Even among the 10 wards with the lowest rates of child poverty, areas within these wards have child poverty rates as high as 35% to 52.6% — 2 to 3.5 times higher than the overall rates

The Highest Rates of Child Poverty are among Indigenous, Racialized and Newcomer Families

  • Shamefully, 84% of Indigenous families with children in Toronto live in poverty
  • One third of racialized children (33.3%) in Toronto live in low-income families, while in comparison 15.1% of non-racialized children live in poverty
  • Greater proportions of racialized children live in poverty, and child poverty rates are unacceptably high among children who are West Asian (59.5%), Arab (58.8%), Black (43.6%) and Latin American (36.1%)
  • More than 40% of children born outside of Canada (1st generation) live in low-income families compared to over 25% of children born in Canada with at least one parent who is an immigrant to Canada (2nd generation). Children who were born in Canada and whose parents were also born in Canada (3rd generation or more) experience the lowest rate, with just over 10% of children living in poverty.
  • Poverty rates are much higher for children from racialized groups compared to non-racialized groups for each generation. For example, among children who were born in Canada and whose parents were born in Canada (3rd generation or more), the poverty rate for racialized children is twice that of non-racialized children (22.8% vs. 10.7%).
  • First generation newcomer children have extremely high rates of poverty, including staggering rates within the Arab (70.5%), West Asian (68.3%), Korean (57.5%) and Black (48%) communities.
  • Children who are of West Asian (44.4%) and Black (42.1%) backgrounds have very high poverty rates even when they were born in Canada and have parents who were born in Canada (3rd generation or more).

The City of Toronto has Higher Rates of Child Poverty than the Toronto Region for All Groups of Children

The 2017 report Unequal City: The Hidden Divide Among Toronto’s Children and Youth showed similar trends among racialized and newcomer children in the Toronto region (Census Metropolitan Area). However, the data presented in the 2018 report shows that children living in the city of Toronto have higher poverty rates than children in the Toronto region for all groups — all children, racialized and non-racialized groups, specific racialized groups, and racialized and non-racialized groups by generation status — reinforcing Toronto’s dubious title of child poverty capital.